Hello and welcome to this little Island called ‘Parentville.’ I would invite you in but at times it can be such a lonely place; filled with misgivings and uncertainty. surrounded on all sides by oceans of well-meaning advice and snide comments that make you seriously contemplate whether or not you are doing okay as a parent. You think you probably are and you are at least
20% 90% sure that your decisions are correct but how can so many different people be wrong…?
Parentville is a place filled with tired growls and coffee breath being unleashed from two parental dragons. It’s a paradise hidden in layers of fog created from stress, self-doubt and loneliness. Relax, have yet another coffee and read about my little journey. It’s just a few steps out of the door, a few leaps onto the unknown and yet it’s terrifying to the extreme. Welcome to the world of being responsible for one or more tiny humans. I hope you’re ready… Good luck!
There’s tantrums and cursing under your breath until you feel like you are slowly losing your identity. Don’t worry you’re still there but you’ve become a slightly different you. More resilient, more protective and mostly ready for it all. You are becoming a pro at dodging whatever is thrown at you and you have somehow learnt how to survive off of just two measly hours of sleep a night.
You have also become a tiny persons superhero, the person they can rely on to help them in every way. It doesn’t always feel like that when they are acting up but believe me when I say that YOU are the most important person to them. Let that wonderful thought fill you up and get you through the worst.
It’s also a place of never-ending love, creativity and gleeful giggles. Sloppy kisses and dance parties become the norm in your life, as do “I love you’s” and reading the same book six times while a tiny head rests on your lap. A sweet little voice pleading for ‘just one more story’ while their hand touches your face. You will yawn and then relent and read four more before tucking them into bed and collapsing out yourself. Exhausted but content that maybe, just maybe you might get twenty (well-earned) minutes to yourself before starting again.
Even with all the wonderful things that parenting brings, it can still get pretty lonely over there on your little island. Youre childless friends really don’t want to listen to the endless poop and puke parade stories and how little Jimmy is so cute now that he can….
Meanwhile your friends who already have kids are so caught up with trying to find time to shower and improve on three hours sleep that you almost never see them. When you do, it’s a quick nod from one soldier to another until it’s time to start the battle again.
Neither you, nor your friends talk much because of the delusion that you’re the only ones having problems or difficulties. Embarrassing lies escape your lips in order to save face. You feel the need to prove to the world that you do in fact have your shit together. The secret is that non of us do but we all find ourselves playing into that never-ending illusion. Welcome to being an adult, it’s essentially repeating “I’m doing fine” until by some miracle you believe it yourself.
Choo Choo into depression city we travel, first stop Doubt Town. Population: you.
That’s how it starts, all you want is reassurance but the world and his wife have differing ideas and opinions. Even when given gently they burn you right in your sleep deprived heart. You know it shouldn’t but damn it, can’t they see that you are trying your hardest!? Even if the other parents seem to be doing so much better, you can’t be doing that badly. Right….? RIGHT?
Wrong, but it’s too difficult to see right now. You are overwhelmed by the love and responsibility you feel and the dreadful phobia of failure. Breathe! You will overcome this. Don’t worry dear reader, keep sipping that already cold coffee (yes, I know you have been up and down to the kids six times already) and read on. It gets easier. I promise.
We move on into the shadowy area known as ‘Lost Avenue. ‘ You look in the mirror and lo and behold you still have the wobbles from pregnancy and you pout and mentally push away the choccies and biscuits. You reprimand yourself because it’s been three months and Jesus Chris you still look like a damned marshmallow. The Celebs at this point look like sexy perfection molded out of God-given wax. Or if they don’t the tabloids end up gasping in absolute horror at the pigginess of it all. What gives?
Nothing dear reader, you don’t have liposuction and some nip, nip tuck to hide it all away. You don’t have Photoshop and a personal trainer. You have a screaming baby and very little time. Every time you look at that belly do yourself a favour and tell yourself these things:
- Your body has just given you a baby, let it recover and be proud of the amazing job you and it have accomplished. You have earned those chocolates, enjoy them for now. Work when you feel up to it. You are your own boss, social expectations don’t own you!
- It took nine months to gain all the weight and wobbles, it will take at least nine months to normalise again. You grew and entire human for Christ’s sake! 90% of mums have the dreaded mummy tummy so you’re not alone. You should see mine… In fact please do:
- See! You are perfectly normal, just like this wobbly mama!
- Screw what other people think. It’s your body not their’s!
- Quick side note for the Daddies. Please don’t get offended if your partner wants 30 minutes without being touched after the kids are settled. She loves you but it reaches a point where she gets ‘touched out’ from the kids climbing on her all day (especially if she’s breastfeeding). Please be patient and allow her to feel like she owns herself for a while. She will be very thankful for it and will most likely encourage your advances when she feels a little less smothered.
In the lost category there is a tiny loss called ‘creativity.’ You won’t even notice it sneaking away initially until you look in your craft cupboard and feel a twang of sadness for all the unfinished/ unstarted projects. It will come back, with gusto! After all you will be surrounded by children who are filled with wonder and imagination. You will play along and feel very silly doing so, but don’t. Look at it as a opportunity to see things with new eyes and with excitement and also as the perfect excuse to act like a two-year old and allow yourself some well needed crazy. It’s exhilarating!
I keep searching for some kind of map to lead me on this long journey, so that I can honestly claim to know what the Hell I’m doing. So far no luck but at least I’m getting better. More sure of myself and less prone to doubt. You’ll get there too but it takes time and a lot of self-love and respect. The truth is that you will be constantly winging it, but you will be too afraid to admit that small fact because of the ever-present ‘mummy police’ and their siren of “Oh dear God, did you hear? Suzie gave her five-year old a chocolate bar. Tut, tut, snarl…”
What I am trying to say in this long and rambling post is: don’t worry, you’re doing great. We all cock-up from time to time and non of us have even the slightest clue of what we are doing even half of the time. You may need a little pat on the back and here it is (I want you tell yourself this daily): You are doing amazingly and your kids will be proud to call you their parent. It’s okay to make mistakes and all in all you’ve got this.”
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